The effect of tensile strength on the clinical effectiveness and patient acceptance of dental floss

Philip J. Hanes, Norris L. O'Dell, Mark R. Bacp, James G. Keagle, Harry C. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Abstract This study compared the clinical effectiveness and subjective approval of 2 waxed dental flosses that differed significantly in tensile strength and wax content. At the initial appointment, subjects (20 Ist‐year dental students) were instructed to stop interproximal cleaning on 2 contralateral quadrants in order to allow plaque to accumulate on these surfaces for 1 week. 1 week later, subjects were instructed to begin flossing these 2 contralateral quadrants with 1 of the 2 types of floss for the next 1–week period, while withdrawing interproximal cleaning on the opposite 2 contralateral quadrants. After flossing these 2 quadrants for 1 week, the subjects began flossing the opposite 2 contralateral quadrants with the same floss. After 2 weeks of flossing contralateral quadrants, the 1st floss was withdrawn and replaced with the alternative floss for another similar 2–week trial period. At the end of each 2–week trial period, subjects completed subjective questionnaires concerning the floss they had used during the previous 2–week period. Pre‐ and post‐flossing plaque indices were calculated for each week for both flosses, and compared statistically by a repeated measures analysis of variance. The results showed that both flosses significantly reduced interproximal plaque deposits, and had equal subjective approval. However, neither the greater‐strength nor the lower‐wax content of the experimental floss was associated with an increase in clinical effectiveness or with a change in subjective approval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-34
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • dental floss
  • plaque
  • plaque index
  • tensile strength
  • waxed dental floss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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